A long-time fan of MakerBot 3D printers starting with the Replicator 2 and then Replicator Z18, Farboud has integrated 3D printing into his design and development process for years. But what really gets him excited now has been the company’s acquisition of MakerBot METHOD X.
Before 3D printing, the team used to send parts out to be machined locally or overseas, which was costly and time-consuming.
But since implementing in-house 3D printing with MakerBot printers, they are able to get things done quickly, immediately, and at the lowest cost possible.
CAD designs can be sent directly to the METHOD X to make a part, check it, and test it. With the technological advances in 3D printing, there is little to no need for post-processing and they can immediately take the printed part to check and test on the car.
The hypercar has a lot of complex pieces inside, such as the rear and lower rear wing, so the team had to figure out how to reduce the weight of machining aluminum. To do that, they instead used 3D printed nylon carbon parts.
“We’re using a lot of bracketry, fasting points, and fixing points around the car in a 3D-printed nylon carbon fiber. We’re also using a lot of interior structures in ABS and nylon carbon fiber because it’s quicker and easier to make.”
“We’re trying to get 95+% of the car in composite material to be even higher, and we’re also trying to reduce the complexity of manufacturing to 3D printing,” Farboud stated.
The typical timeline for car production can be lengthy, about three to four years. But by implementing 3D printing that involves sketch-to-scale modeling to CAD modeling to fixtures, servicing, and interiors, the timeline is shortened to 12 months.
“The 3D printer reduces the time from a digital file to prototyping and checking for touch and feel. That’s a big thing. Sometimes you miss a hole or a fixture, but you can catch that on a CAD model. Then after it’s printed, you can physically check it,” Farboud said.
He added that the steps toward making trial parts have become easier with 3D printing. The focus instead is on getting the CAD design right, which is followed by just pressing play, and the part gets made right there in your shop.
There is still the misconception that the 3D printing filaments being used are not strong enough, or that 3D printing is only used for models or prototypes.
But Arash is actually using these parts on cars, as they find them to be accurate for their applications, and are using these parts on a daily basis for production.
“It’s an exciting world that we’re in right now,” concluded Farboud.